By Richard Sherman
Senior Wire 

Net neutrality and other tech complexities

Ask Mr. Modem


Q. It seems like lots of “experts” have varying opinions about Net Neutrality. Can you explain it in layman’s terms? I am against the government sticking its nose into my business, but I don’t understand the issue.

A. Net Neutrality 101. It’s a complex subject about which volumes have been written, but in its simplest form, Net Neutrality is a principle that states that all information flowing across the Internet should be treated equally.

With more people streaming data-rich video, Skype (Internet telephone), playing online games, watching full-length movies, and using social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., the Internet itself faces significant traffic congestion, which can result in sluggish or even nonexistent access to Internet-based data.

Questions then arise such as:

• Should Internet access providers be able to sell multi-tiered access to accommodate heavy users? (It doesn’t seem fair to me to single out overweight individuals, but what do I know?)

• Should sites that generate massive traffic and thus contribute to the congestion pay additional fees which would undoubtedly be passed on to consumers?

• Should the historically free Information Superhighway become a toll road?

The U.S. government is examining Net Neutrality and its financial, legal and social implications. The debate then becomes, “Do we need federal intervention to ensure fairness, or is this an issue for the market to work out, bearing in mind that the Internet itself is global, so the U.S. government’s jurisdiction would be limited to U.S.-based providers? The debate and discussion to follow promise to be heated and prolonged, so stay tuned.

The above constitutes a simplistic summary of a very complex subject and is by no means intended to be all-inclusive, but I hope that helps.

Q. How can I view what’s on my Windows Clipboard?

A. The clipboard is an area of memory set aside for short-term storage of data. When you copy something, before you paste it in a new location, it is stored on the Clipboard. The last item copied remains on your Windows Clipboard until it is overwritten by the next item you copy.

If you would like to see the last item you copied as it resides on your Clipboard, simply go to any blank area – a blank document, email, Wordpad or Notepad screen – right-click and select Paste. Whatever is on the Clipboard at that time will pop right into the blank area.

Q. I know how to delete individual files, but I can’t remember how you said we can use the keyboard to highlight a block of files for moving or deleting. Thanks, Mr. M.

A. To select multiple files, hold down the SHIFT key and click the first file to select it, then scroll down to the last file and click that. That will highlight (select) all files in between.

If the files you want to select are non-contiguous files – which is a fancy-shmancy way of saying files not located next to each other – use the CTRL key instead of the SHIFT key, to select specific files.

Q. When I go to websites, including my bank’s, a message appears that says that the certificate has expired. How can I update these expired certificates? It’s always something, isn’t it?

A. Yes, it sure is. The site-based security certificates you mentioned are probably fine. I notice that your email is dated 2019, so unless you’re emailing me from your time machine, the date on the computer is incorrect, which would account for all those certificates being shown as having expired, since they would have expired sometime before 2019.

The problem you’re experiencing is caused by the incorrect date. To correct this, right-click the time/date display in the System Tray in the lower right-hand corner of your screen and adjust the day, month and year to reflect the current date. Once you correct the date, restart your computer and all those expired certificate notifications will disappear.

Mr. Modem’s DME (Don’t Miss ’Em) sites of the month

Ever wonder how many calories are in a McDonald’s Big Mac? How about a Subway Club? Or Arby’s Curly Fries? Me neither, but for anyone counting calories, here’s a site that will either be of great assistance or will ruin your life. This site is dedicated to helping you figure out the nutritional value (no, seriously) of some of the most popular fast food chains. So how does a Jack-in-the-Box bacon ultimate cheeseburger, a large order of fries and a delicious Oreo ice cream shake sound? You might want to have paramedics standing by for this 3,180 calorie, 185 grams o’fat artery clogger. Bon appetit!


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